A disability charity boss has been sentenced to five years in prison after he was found guilty of defrauding the scheme of £256,000.
Patrick McLarry admitted to taking the money from Yateley Industries for the Disabled in order to buy homes for himself and his wife. He also used it to pay off a debt for a pub lease.
A Guardian report detailed how the disability charity was so badly affected by the sophisticated fraud that it came within days of closing and service users and staff have been left traumatised.
Judge Andrew Barnett, sentencing at Winchester Crown Court, said the crime was “an appalling dishonesty and breach of trust.”
“You quite deliberately and in a very calculating way milked the fund of a considerable amount of money which was spent for your own needs and your wife’s,” he added.
The Guardian went on to report how Linda Matthews, the chief executive of the charity, said in a statement read to court that the pension scheme faced “significant difficulties” because of the stolen funds and had led to “immense stress and anxiety” for staff and users.
While Nicola Parish, the executive director of The Pensions Regulator, which brought the prosecution, said: “McLarry tried every trick in the book to hide his actions and squander the pension pots of those he was responsible for but we were able to uncover the truth and bring him to justice.
“We will now work to seize assets from McLarry so that as much of the money as possible is returned to its rightful owners, who will rightly rely on it to deliver their pensions in retirement.”
Yateley Industries says on its website that it works to sustain and increase the opportunities for people with disabilities in rewarding employment, both in its internal employment opportunities and mainstream work.